Insights · November 22nd, 2006

A few months ago I sat in a Starbucks drinking coffee, and as is sometimes the way in coffee shops, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation at the table next to me. An earnest young man was actively working to recruit a young lady into his gaming business. The words he was using were about social good and changing the world, about creativity and education. By the time he was done, I was half-tempted to turn around and ask him if I could get a job in gaming. I don’t know if she accepted or not, but I know it piqued my interest.

I’ve recently noticed a number of appealing applications of gaming technology. They are still primarily targeted at younger demographics, but I suspect I will be gaming my way to knowledge, and maybe health, sometime soon.

  • There is a gym in California that is only open to teens. It incorporates physical and virtual components into a single workout through dance games where the game is played by moving your feet, and through virtual boxing.
  • The new Nintendo Wii, hard to miss in this week’s news, incorporates physical motion into the gaming experience.
  • The increasingly-popular Second Life is basically Sims on steroids with a twist: participants (or residents) can create, own, buy, and sell goods and move money made in Second Life to US dollars through a currency exchange.
  • The game Darfur is Dying is an attempt to use a video game as the centerpiece of an educational experience around the genocide on Darfur. I highly recommend playing the game, watching the video, and taking a look at the text.

Each of these applications is a closer blend of the physical and the virtual than traditional gaming. We’ve come a long way from batting a fuzzy white ball across a low-definition TV set in Pong.

Related Links:

NPR article, California Gym for Teens Mixes Exercise with Xbox, by Cyrus Farivar
Nintendo Home Site
Second Life
Darfur is Dying

Related blog entry: Virtual Money Becomes Real

Brenda Cooper

Category
Art & Society Science & Tech
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Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

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